April 20, 2019

Book Blitz + Giveaway: What Matters More by Liora Blake


What Matters More
Author: Liora Blake 

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: April 9, 2019


A sexy contemporary romance about what happens when a casual one-night stand becomes anything but casual.

JT Maxwell has it all...well, almost. He’s a US Marshal, he looks like he belongs in an aftershave commercial, and he has tattoos—lots of tattoos. Unfortunately, he’s also in debt up to his pretty blue eyeballs. Between that and his recent divorce, his personal life is nonexistent these days. But when a free-spirited artist approaches him for a no-strings-attached one-night stand, things suddenly start looking up.

Anya Alves’s life is a mess. She’s lost her job, caught her boyfriend cheating on her, and if it weren’t for the house-sitting gig she just landed, she’d be homeless. On top of all that, her creative muse has up and disappeared. If she doesn’t get it back, her burgeoning career as an artist will be over before it starts. But after indulging in a steamy hook-up with a guy who makes it easy to forget her troubles, she gets her mojo back.

The last thing she expects when starting her house-sitting job, is to see her sexy one-night stand again...living right across the street.

Anya managed a nervous smile and thrust her arms forward, with the baking pan perched in her hands like an offering—one she suddenly wasn’t sure would be welcome.

“We made enchiladas for dinner,” she blurted out. “And we saved some for you. Tara said you can send her a thank-you note tomorrow. I kept them warm, and I have salad and some beer, too. Are you hungry?”

JT’s gaze zeroed in on the pan in her hands and he simply stared at it, not saying a word, even when Anya cleared her throat to ease the uncomfortable silence. She felt a blush creeping across her cheeks, and a panicked thought hit her. One that if she hadn’t lost her mind earlier, she would have been able to see coming before she found herself with these damn oven mitts on her hands.

Maybe this was a mistake.

She could see how this must look, this show of domesticity on her part that he certainly hadn’t asked for or even insinuated that he wanted. But here she was, making him dinner and keeping it warm until he arrived home, like she was some proper Kennedy-era housewife— which, on so many levels, she definitely wasn’t. Even the outfit she’d changed into, a lavender floral mini dress, made it look like all she was missing was a cute little vintage apron to complete the look.

Oh, God.

Of course this was a mistake.

Anya considered setting the pan on the ground and walking away without saying another word. But then JT locked his eyes with hers. A hungry, heated look was on his face, and because she was regretting this whole thing now, she wasn’t sure whether that look was for her or the enchiladas. Either way, she needed him to say something soon because she was about to drop this hot pan and swoon, although not necessarily in that order.

“I’m starving,” JT rumbled. Then he made his way toward the door into the house, opened it, and invited Anya in with just the tip of his chin. She scooted past him in the doorway and swore that when she did, he actually grunted quietly as she passed.

Even then, she still wasn’t sure what he wanted to eat first.

Wife of one. Mom of three plus a Beagle.
Liora Blake is a contemporary romance author living in Colorado.

When she isn't writing, she's likely baking cookies she shouldn't eat, inventing elaborate excuses to avoid going for a run, or asking the nice barista to sell her another quad-shot Americano.


April 19, 2019

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Biker Baby by Penny Dee

Biker Baby (Kings of Mayhem MC #3)
Author: Penny Dee
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: April 19, 2019


I was about to make a huge mistake.

And when I say huge, I mean, approximately ten inches’ worth of mistake.

But after the week I’d had, this was just what I needed. A night of big bad mistakes with a big bad biker.

Honey Scott

Finding out your boyfriend is a cheating loser is a real buzz kill. Finding out you’re actually the other woman, is devastating. Call it temporary insanity, but I decide the best way to get over the loser I’d dated for two years is to get under a biker with tattoos, dimples and a hard body he knows how to use.

He’s going to make everything better with numerous mind-blowing orgasms. But just for one night.

Except one faulty condom means my one-night stand isn’t so one-night after all.

Caleb Calley

After a night of insane sex, the beautiful blue-eyed brunette gave me the slip. And even with all the women on offer afterwards, I can’t get her off my mind. So when she turns up at the Kings of Mayhem MC compound I’m quick to give her a second night of amazing sex and crazy orgasms. But this time, I’m not ready to let her go.

There’s just one problem— she’s not interested.

But if she thinks she’s going to give me the slip again, then she’s got another thing coming. I know she is keeping a secret from me but I don’t care what it is. I want her and I’m going to make her mine.

Biker Baby, book three in the Kings of Mayhem MC series.

Please note: you must be 18+ to read and due to the content there may be triggers.

“That bitch!” Autumn seethed, taking a sip of her hot chocolate. We were sitting on her couch, the one I would be sleeping on until I got my bed and furniture back. “I always knew you couldn’t trust the little thief.”

“Caleb seems to think he can get my things from her,” I said, leaning forward and taking my peppermint tea from the coffee table. I took a sip of the minty water and savored the sweetness on my tongue. It was the only thing I could keep down, and thankfully, it also calmed my nausea.

“I don’t doubt it, he seems very . . . capable.” She looked at me over her mug and I could see the twinkle in her eyes. “Did you tell him about the baby?”

I glanced away. “No.”

She gaped at me. “Honey!”

“I know. I should’ve told him but—”


“I got distracted!”

She gave me an unimpressed look. “That is the worst excuse ever. You got distracted? By what, his big cock?” When I glanced away again she tsk-tsk’d and shook her head. “You ho.”

I gave her a pointed look. “Speaking of hoes, how was your night?”

She shrugged it off as if it was nothing. “It was . . . you know . . . it was okay.”

She tried to sound nonchalant, but her voice raised an octave, so I knew she was lying.

“Just okay?” I eyed her suspiciously because she wouldn’t look me in the eye. “Oh my God, you like him!”

Again, she tried to downplay it. “Of course I like him, I let him inside my vagina. Three times, to be precise.”

“But you like like him! I can tell.”

She avoided making eye contact with me and busied herself picking at the cushion on her lap.

“Don’t try to deny it. I’ve been your best friend for too long. I know when you like someone.”

She sighed. “Okay, so I like him.”


“I don’t know. I guess I just didn’t expect to like him.”

Autumn had trouble with commitment.

“So are you going to see him again?”

“Don’t try to change the subject,” she said, cocking an eyebrow. “We’re talking about you telling Caleb about the baby you’re growing in your womb.”

I bit my bottom lip.

“You know, maybe I don’t need to tell him,” I said.

Autumn looked at me like I was crazy. “You’re joking, right?”

“Why do I need to tell him? I don’t need some guy to help me with this. I’m quite capable of raising this baby on my own.”

“He’s not just some guy, he’s the baby’s father. And don’t you think he deserves to know?” Seeing the pained look on my face, she gave me an empathetic look. “Look, you of all people know how hard raising a kid by yourself can be.”

She wasn’t wrong. My childhood had been a disaster thanks to my hair-brained, selfish mother. It was the kind of childhood that made you not want to have children. I saw firsthand how easy it was to crush someone’s self-worth and confidence. My childhood was lonely. I grew up in a one-bedroom apartment in Vegas with a mom who was always out cruising the casinos and bars for her next meal ticket.

I spent most nights home alone, and on one of these nights, after watching a Martha Stewart show about cupcakes, I decided to learn how to bake. Mom wasn’t home to supervise or to tell me how to do things, and one time my eight-year-old self almost burnt down our tiny kitchen. But thanks to some fast thinking I was able to stop a disaster from unfolding. Although, the stench of burnt cake and wax paper was hard to get rid of. Not that Mom noticed when she got home hours later, reeking of booze and too drunk to care.

By the age of nine, I was an enthusiastic cupcake baker who knew her way around the kitchen. Money was tight. So I would use the walks home from school to wander through parking lots of the casinos looking for spare change so I could buy ingredients for my next baking adventure.

I was also really good at English, so at school I started my own essay writing service, selling five-hundred words for five bucks. Some weeks I made up to twenty-five dollars, which meant I could afford to buy some baking books and experiment with different recipes and ideas.

My mom made my childhood lonely and sad, but her abandonment gave me the love of baking, and as a result, a rewarding career.

And probably the best mothering skills in the world.

Because I wasn’t going to be anything like her.

I took another sip of my tea. “I want to tell him. I do. But I just don’t know how to do it.”

“Stop having sex with him would be a start.”

“I’m serious, Autumn. I don’t know how to bring it up.”

“So am I.” She gave me a stern look. “You need to go over there right now and tell him you’re having his baby.”
Penny Dee writes contemporary romance about rockstars, bikers, hockey players and everyone in-between. She believes true love never runs smoothly, and her characters realize this too, with a boatload of drama and a whole lot of steam.

She found her happily ever after in Australia where she lives with her husband, daughter and a dog named Bindi.


April 18, 2019

Beyond the Wild Wood Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway


Beyond the Wild Wood (Of the Trees #3) 
Author: E.M. Fitch 
Publication Date: April 15, 2019 
Publisher: Month9Books 

The faery queen has forbidden Aidan from stalking his prey, but Cassie should have known that nothing would keep him from what he wants: to steal her away forever into the realm of the Fae. 

Cassie struggles to pick up what’s left of her life, keeping true to her promise to watch over her best friend’s son. But despite the faery queen’s promise of safety, the shadow of Aidan is ever present in her mind, haunting her dreams and turning forest shadows into nightmares. The rest of her friends are getting ready for college, but not her. The Fae haven’t left yet. Cassie knows because Laney lingers still, drawn to the son she gave up, the foliage at his window sill bright green and flourishing at her touch. 

Laney’s son is safe in the arms of his adoptive parents, and the babe has Cassie to watch over him from afar. That should have been enough for the new faery, but it wasn’t. She couldn’t let her son go. Laney watches him from afar, motionless, ageless, addicted to his tiny movements and contented sighs. The thought of leaving him is unbearable, even if she knows leaving is the only way to keep her best friend safe from Aidan’s grasp. 

When the faery queen’s threat of departure becomes all too real, Aidan takes matters into his own hands, throwing the Fae into a battle that risks their very existence. His action impels Laney to choose which side she really belongs on—human or faery—and forces Cassie to decide just who she can trust, at last, with the truth. 

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks
Top 10 “Happy Feely” songs
Uhh… “Happy Feely songs?!” Okay…here we go. 

1) Once More With Feeling – the entire soundtrack to that episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though more specifically I’ve Got a Theory/Bunnies/If We’re Together because bunnies are very upsetting. And what’s with all the carrots, what do they need such good eyesight for anyway?! 

2) Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 – on piano. None of that orchestra stuff.

3) Orange Colored Sky – but only when Natalie Cole sings it.

4) The entire La La Land soundtrack – shut up, it’s my favorite movie.

5) For that matter, 90% of all Broadway musicals. Seriously. Shut up!

6) I really don’t listen to normal music…is that coming through yet? How about the Psycho Theme? You know, when Norman’s going at her in the shower?? That’s pretty riveting. And Bernard Hermann, am I right?! That guy was nuts. Did you know he’s credited for sound on The Birds, but there’s no music?! It’s just bird noises! How cool is that? Genius.

7) Geez…three more?? Okay, hmm…I like that Peter Pan song, what’s it called?? Huh. Oh yeah! Ruth B. Lost Boy. I like that.

8) I’m Shipping Up To Boston. Let my Irish roots rejoice. Plus I like music you can stomp to.

9) Oh! Elle King! I like her too, how about Good Girls? That’s Happy Feely.

10) One Week by the Barenaked Ladies. Because as a teen I could totally sing this entire song. Boom.
E. M. Fitch is an author who loves scary stories, chocolate, and tall trees. Her latest novel, OF THE TREES, is a Young Adult horror/fantasy inspired by haunted cemeteries and the darker musings of W.B. Yeats. Its sequel, AT WOODS EDGE, will be released in the coming year from Month9Books. She is the author of the Young Adult zombie trilogy: THE BREAK FREE SERIES. Her story, BETWEEN SHADOWS, was recently featured in the Fragments of Darkness anthology; and her new collection of short stories entitled THE VEIL: GHOSTS, GOBLINS, GHOULS is coming soon! She has been published in Pulp Metal Magazine, Under the Bed Magazine, and her short stories RELEASE and THE CREEP were featured respectively in CHBB’s Lurking in the Shadows and Lurking in the Mind anthologies. When not dreaming up new ways to torture characters, she is usually corralling her four children, or thinking of ways to tire them out so she can get an hour of peace at night.
Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads 
One (1) winner will receive a Starbucks Gift Card


April 17, 2019

The Hummingbird Dagger Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway


The Hummingbird Dagger
Author: Cindy Anstey

Genre: YA Historical Mystery
Publication Date: April 16, 2019

Publisher: Swoon Reads


From the author of Suitors and Sabotage comes a suspenseful and enthralling new Regency novel, perfect for readers who like their Jane Austen classics with a side of mystery and murder.

1833. A near-fatal carriage accident has deposited an unconscious young woman on the doorstep of Hardwick Manor and into the care of young Lord James Ellerby. But when she finally awakens, it is with no memory of who she is or where she came from.

Beth, as she calls herself, has no identity; the only clue to her circumstances is a recurring nightmare of a hummingbird, blood dripping from its steel beak.

With the help of James and his sister, Caroline, Beth tries to solve the mystery of her own identity and the appalling events that brought her to their door. But nothing could prepare her for the escalating dangers that threaten her and the Ellerby clan. From the hazardous cliffs of Dorset to the hostile streets of London, Beth will fight to reclaim her past, hunted by a secretive foe with murderous intentions.

Fans of Cindy Anstey’s previous novels won’t want to miss The Hummingbird Dagger, a dark and twisty new offering that blends romance, danger and mystery.

Praise for Duels & Deception:

“Delightful … It is Jane Austen spiced with action, suspense, and humor.” —VOYA, starred review

“Jane Austen fans in need of a good new book, look no further.” —Entertainment Weekly

Without a knock or a by-your-leave, the library doors burst open. Walter entered with great energy; Henry followed in his wake. Paying no heed to the fact that he was interrupting, Walter launched into a dramatic declaration.

“Life is so wild and unexpected! Life holds such excitement, especially in the spring. Do you not find?” he asked no one in particular and continued without hesitation, “Here I was in a fit of blue devils, for I was cruelly deprived of my curricle, suffered unwarranted criticisms, and then duties were pressed unjustly upon me. Bored and bored again, only to find Henry this morning with great news.” Walter’s drama was affecting no one but himself. “They have a guest at Risely Hall, recently of the West Indies. Full of stories and adventures. I am revived!” He turned to leave the room, as self-involved as when he entered it. “I am off.”

“Walter.” James did not raise his voice. “Where are you going?”

Walter’s smile slowly disappeared. “Why to Risely Hall, of course.”

James crossed his arms, and without taking his eyes off Walter, addressed Henry. “Thank you for dropping by, Mr. Thompson. Walter will, unfortunately, be unable to join you at Risely today. Or tomorrow.”

Walter snapped his jaw shut.

Henry bowed without a word and stepped into the hall. The footman quietly closed the door behind him. Stealthy footsteps faded away.

“Now see here, James. You cannot keep me here twiddling my thumbs in penance. I did not mean to force the stagecoach from the road.” Walter turned his appeal to Caroline. “Do not let him bully me like this, sweet sister. I will be miserable.”

James watched Caroline struggle to maintain her composure. Her mouth opened and closed silently until the heat in her face flushed to the roots of her hair.

“How dare you! How dare you think of your own selfish wants while that poor girl lies in bed half demented because of your carelessness!” She rose and stood in front of her younger brother. Somehow she managed to tower over the taller boy. “You had better make yourself useful, not only to James and me, but more important, to the young woman that you injured.

“Her family and friends will be sick with worry, sitting up night after night watching and waiting, praying for some word of her safety. And you, you are worried about being bored!” Caroline sat down, shaking with emotion.

The room was silent. No one mentioned that only one night had passed.

Walter had the good sense to look contrite and cowed. “I had not thought of it that way. Mrs. Fogel said she was doing fine. I thought...I thought—”

“That is the trouble, Walter; you were not thinking.” James shook his head, swallowing the lump of anger in his throat.

Walter’s shoulders dropped, and he found great fascination in the pattern of the carpet.

Caroline took a deep breath and rose to her feet. “James, could you introduce your brother to our guest? I am in need of some fresh air.” She turned to Walter. “You will do whatever you can to make her comfortable. You will talk to her, you will make her laugh, and you will read to her. You will ease her troubled mind and distract her. You will fetch her tea if she wants it.” She raised her hand to silence him before he spoke. “Daisy has other duties. Beth will be yours. There will be consequences if I find you dallying.”

Tight-lipped, Caroline left the room. Her careful footsteps and the swish of her gown could be heard through the doorway.
Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.

She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester.


April 16, 2019

Someday We Will Fly Blog Tour: Deleted Scene + Giveaway

Welcome to the Someday We Will Fly Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin, blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Rachel, as well as 5 chances to win a copy of Someday We Will Fly and two authentic Chinese bookmarks!


From the author of Blind, a heart-wrenching coming-of-age story set during World War II in Shanghai, one of the only places Jews without visas could find refuge.

Warsaw, Poland. The year is 1940 and Lillia is fifteen when her mother, Alenka, disappears and her father flees with Lillia and her younger sister, Naomi, to Shanghai, one of the few places that will accept Jews without visas. There they struggle to make a life; they have no money, there is little work, no decent place to live, a culture that doesn't understand them. And always the worry about Alenka. How will she find them? Is she still alive? 

Meanwhile Lillia is growing up, trying to care for Naomi, whose development is frighteningly slow, in part from malnourishment. Lillia finds an outlet for her artistic talent by making puppets, remembering the happy days in Warsaw when her family was circus performers. She attends school sporadically, makes friends with Wei, a Chinese boy, and finds work as a performer at a "gentlemen's club" without her father's knowledge.

But meanwhile the conflict grows more intense as the Americans declare war and the Japanese force the Americans in Shanghai into camps. More bombing, more death. Can they survive, caught in the crossfire?

★ "DeWoskin explores a rarely depicted topic...A beautifully nuanced exploration of culture and people." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ "An unusual portrait of what war does to families in general and children in particular... affirms the human need for art and beauty in hard times." - Booklist, starred review

Deleted Scene

Oh my god. This was so much fun. I have an EPIC folder of cut scenes, and here’s a weird one, which although it didn’t make it in, informed some of Lillia’s inner life. Sometimes I have to imagine what my character has seen in the world, and how she ties it to what she’s read or imagined, and how that combination changes or shapes her thinking. This was too off-topic to keep in the book, but I knew she was a girl noticing dogs and thinking about foxes. . .And I knew Mrs. Campton loved and always made time for Lillia and her thoughts and stories. So in a sense, this cut scene (and many others like it) runs underneath the scenes that made it into the novel.

A strange stray dog flashed by on the street while I was out getting flour for Taube. There were so many people and, as always, animals, wagons, bicycles, rickshaws, but she wove through it almost as if she were made of vapor, sleek, ephemeral.

At school, I told Mrs. Campton about the dog, how it looked almost like a ghost. “She was so thin and red in the light she looked like she was glowing,” I said For some reason, I didn’t want to stop talking. “Or a fox,” I said, and then, “I used to have a dog in Poland, and-” an image of Pete flashed into my mind so abruptly and vividly that I could feel his warmth, hear the pattern of his breathing, and then that breathing morphed into my Mama’s laughter. 

Mrs. Campton listened patiently, waited.  It was the most I’d ever said to her and I began to feel the embarrassment that came over me whenever I spoke. But I continued. “My Mama is lost,” I said, “maybe in Poland, or maybe forever, but I thought maybe she or my dog, Pete – well, that one of them was sending me a message.” 

Why had I told Mrs. Campton this silly story? I was nothing more than a child, relaying my idiotic dream to an adult. But Mrs. Campton went to fetch something from her desk. She returned holding a slim, worn book and handed it to me. On the cover were several Chinese characters, and underneath them, English: Animal Legends. It was full of legends, of phoenixes, dragons, snakes, goldfish, and foxes. I sat at my desk that day and read the whole volume; she never interrupted me once, not even for exercise in the yard.

Foxes, the book promised, whether real or imagined, are symbols of feminine creative energy and beauty. The fox is solitary but loves her family and makes a home for herself, one she improves year after year, even though she is forced to spend many months away from it. When a fox turns 50, maybe she’ll become human. And at 100? Then she can choose to be a wizard or a beautiful young woman with whom all men must fall in love. Late in the day, I told Mrs. Campton about the story Kassia had read me before I left Warsaw: the one of the dove girl saving her eagle brothers. 

When I finished speaking, Mrs. Campton put her arms around me and I let her hug me for a moment before I slipped away, sleek and solitary as a fox.

Blog Tour Schedule:

April 15thThe Fandom
April 16thA Dream Within A Dream
April 17thBookhoundsYA
April 18thFangirlish
April 19thNovel Novice
Rachel DeWoskin spent her twenties in China as the unlikely star of a nighttime soap opera that inspired her memoir Foreign Babes in Beijing. She is the author of Repeat After Me and Big Girl Small, which received the American Library Association's Alex Award for an adult book with special appeal to teen readers; Rachel's conversations with young readers inspired her to write her first YA novel, Blind. Rachel is on the faculty of the University of Chicago, where she teaches creative writing. She lives in Chicago with her husband, playwright Zayd Dohrn, and their two daughters. Rachel and her family spent six summers in Shanghai while she researched Someday We Will Fly.

Follow Rachel:  

One (1) winner will receive a hardcover copy of Someday We Will Fly, a beautiful Classic Style Chinese Blue and White Porcelain Metal Stainless Bookmark, and a wooden bookmark hand-selected in Shanghai
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Ends April 30th at midnight ET
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Paperback Release Day Spotlight: Dreams of Falling by Karen White

Dreams of Falling
Author: Karen White
Genre: Historical Fiction/Women's Fiction
Release Date: April 16, 2019 (paperback)
Publisher: Berkley Books


1950s Georgetown, South Carolina. Lifelong best friends Ceecee, Margaret, and Bitty graduate from high school, bound by their shared dreams...wishes they write on ribbons and tie to an old tree. Constrained by small town expectations, they plan a last grab at freedom: a graduation trip to Myrtle Beach. But one night on the boardwalk will change everything; and the sacrifices that follow will ripple through three generations.

Present day. Larkin Lanier left Georgetown at 18, promising she’d never return. But when her mother Ivy disappears, Larkin is called back to her hometown. And when Ivy is found unconscious on the site of their family’s abandoned rice plantation, Larkin’s search for answers—why was her mother at Carrowmore?—lead her to a ribbon left in the girls’ old wishing tree: I know about Margaret. What happens next triggers Larkin’s unraveling of fifty-year-old secrets...secrets so dark they remain unspoken even amongst the three friends who share them.



April 15, 2019

Tudor Rose Blog Tour: Deleted Scene + Giveaway


Tudor Rose
Author: W.H. Doyle 
Publication Date: April 9, 2019 
Publisher: Month9Books 


In 16th-century England, two teenage best friends find themselves on an exciting journey from the country to the Queen’s court in the hope of being named ladies-in-waiting. But Sybille and Rose soon discover they aren’t the only girls who have their sights set on attending Her Majesty.  The girls must compete against worldly and cunning opponents, among them mean-girl Avis and her entourage of back-stabbing cohorts, tipping the balance in their already-tenuous friendship. 

Soon, the grand hall is more like the hallway of a prestigious finishing school, with girls fighting for the attention of a dashing, young earl, amid parties fueled by drinking and indiscriminate dalliances. As the tension between Sybille and Avis heats up, the focus on Rose wanes, allowing her to turn her attention to more important matters – like getting close enough to the Queen to learn her secrets. 

But being close to the Queen is not without its challenges. And when rumors of Rose’s influence make their way around the castle, no one, not even the Queen, will be safe. 


Please provide a deleted scene

This scene wasn’t completely deleted but it was reworked to the point that it might as well as have been. This was the way the book originally started…from Aunt Clemence’s POV. My amazing editors at Month9Books quickly pointed out that we need to get into Rose’s head as soon as possible and that it should all be recast from her point of view. They were so right, and the book is so much better for it. Here’s the opening as it was originally:

“If ever there’s a perfect day for a purity examination,” Aunt Clemence thought cheerily, “it would have to be today.”

The sun was making its first appearance in weeks, the orchards were dotted with the bright colors of autumn, and the violent storms of the past month appeared banished from their little corner of England. Aunt Clemence knew she’d been right to turn her niece’s examination into a banquet of sorts. What a spectacular day to show off her London connections—and her position as the town’s most powerful widow!

Then again, she realized, the weather didn’t much matter. The citizens of Gordonsrod would brave a typhoon for free wine—even if it was the cheapest she could buy. And the thirsty townsfolk didn’t disappoint. Forty strong, they flocked to her one-story house in their Church-going best, squeezing around her parlor table where servants had strewn week-old sweetmeats and pigeon pies.

As the guests mingled and laughed and drank, Aunt Clemence decided she was probably the wittiest creature alive, flitting about the room like the most clever of girls. True, she was fifty and required a cane to walk and support her immense weight. But she was sure no one noticed that—or the canker that had sprouted on her lip. Her neighbors were certainly too busy jealously admiring her as she hobnobbed with London aristocracy.

Yes, if you asked Aunt Clemence the day really was going perfectly.

Of course, if you asked her niece Sybille Maydestone, the girl who’d soon be prodded to determine the status of her virginity, you’d get a very different answer.

Author Bill Doyle was born in Michigan, and wrote his first mystery at the age of eight. He has gone on to write critically acclaimed and bestselling children's books, including stories of real-life war heroes in "Behind Enemy Lines: True Stories of Amazing Courage"; the pick-your-own-adventure "Worst Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure: Everest"; the historical fiction mystery series Crime Through Time; the Henry & Keats series including "Attack of the Shark-Headed Zombie"; the Scream Team series about Bad News Bears-type monsters playing sports; and soon-to-be released series "The Prizewinners of Piedmont Place." 

Additionally, Bill has served as editor at Sesame Workshop, TIME for Kids and SI Kids. He's written for LeapFrog, Weekly Reader, Rolling Stone, Comedy Central, National Geographic Kids, and the American Museum of Natural History. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from the film school at New York University where he was taught by the likes of Arthur Miller and David Mamet. 

Bill lives with two dachshund-headed canines in New York City, and you can visit him online at www.BillDoyleBooks.com. 
 One (1) winner will win a Starbucks Gift Card